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#464323 - 02/21/02 03:43 AM Foolproof way to perfect scales! GUARANTEED!!  
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 77
JoeTownley Offline
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JoeTownley  Offline
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As anybody who's been following these posts knows by now, I injured my hand several years ago and took a 15 year layoff from the piano to pursue other things. It was hearing the Scriabin D# minor Etude that brought me back about a year ago. I'd alway wanted to learn it and tried once but the base was too darned complicated for me at the time. Now I've managed to get it into reasonable shape. But getting my technic back was a long, hard climb. My scales were an absolute mess, expecially my right hand (the injured one) Then I tried something I'd been experimenting with just before i gave it all up. One thing that's always bothered me about the way scales are taught is that both hands have to pivot at different point. Take the scale of D. Starting the fingering in the left hand w/ the traditional pinkie means the left hamd as to pivot one note after the right, and so on and so on. What if both hands could pivot at equal times every time? They can. Merely start the bottom of the scale in the left hand w/ the ring finger(4th). Both hands will pivot simultaneously from G to A and again from C#-D-E. Hence, LH fingering: 4(D),3,2,1,4,3,2,1,3,2,1,4,3,2,1,3,2,1(D) This works for C, D, E, G, A, in major and minor. The flats present unique problems but the key (pun) is to keep both thumbs striking the keys at the same time so the pivot can occur simultaneously. Try it out and see. It takes some getting used to but one you have it, the results will astonish you. Boy, did it help me get those scales back into shape!

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#464324 - 02/21/02 09:14 AM Re: Foolproof way to perfect scales! GUARANTEED!!  
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okat47 Offline
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Right now I'm considering trying out your fingering at my lesson next week just to see my teacher's reaction.You have no idea how much havoc that would cause.
As for the whole pivot thing, I've heard that sometimes scales are first taught in contrary motion to avoid that problem.
I always thought the foolproof way to perfect scales was practise....

#464325 - 02/21/02 11:10 AM Re: Foolproof way to perfect scales! GUARANTEED!!  
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Stanza Offline
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I read somewhere, I think it was Sandor's book, that he didn't recommend practicing scales hands together at all, because it leads to unevenness and inability to effectively concentrate on technique for each hand.


Estonia L190 #7004
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#464326 - 02/21/02 11:43 AM Re: Foolproof way to perfect scales! GUARANTEED!!  
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Rodion Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Stanza:
I read somewhere, I think it was Sandor's book, that he didn't recommend practicing scales hands together at all, because it leads to unevenness and inability to effectively concentrate on technique for each hand.


that book helped me a ton...no one had ever told me not to pass my thumb under my hand before, and what a difference that made.


Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. - Hector Berlioz
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#464327 - 02/21/02 04:17 PM Re: Foolproof way to perfect scales! GUARANTEED!!  
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Eldon Offline
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Eldon  Offline
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Illinois
Joe,
That fingering will work in C and all the sharp keys (G,D,A,E,B) excluding F#. You can also realize the same groupings in the flat keys...keeping your thumbs on C and F in every key.


Sincerely,
Eldon
#464328 - 02/21/02 06:45 PM Re: Foolproof way to perfect scales! GUARANTEED!!  
Joined: Dec 2001
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Lido's Pizzaz Offline
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Silver Spring, MD
I have been practicing the circle of 5ths every night with my eyes closed (good for sight reading, so I have been told). But anyway, with the DM scale the fingering that I was taught is:

(D)54321321 4321321(D)

which always puts 3 on the F# and 2 on C#. So that my hand would fit better over the black keys I think a better fingering might be
(D) 214321321432132 (D)
Then 4 is always on the F# and 3 is on the C#. But then again, the sharps are always the first key that you hit when rotating over your thumb. Anybody care to say why one fingering would be better than another? for this scale and in general? Also, is there any benefits to buying a book of scales? Am I answering my own question?

#464329 - 02/21/02 08:07 PM Re: Foolproof way to perfect scales! GUARANTEED!!  
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Nina Offline
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that book helped me a ton...no one had ever told me not to pass my thumb under my hand before, and what a difference that made.

Rodion, I think I'm guilty of passing my thumb under my hand... can you describe what you mean, and what Sandor recommended?

Thx
Nina

#464330 - 02/21/02 09:25 PM Re: Foolproof way to perfect scales! GUARANTEED!!  
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JoeTownley Offline
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yeah, what's so bad about the thumb under the hand??

#464331 - 02/21/02 10:10 PM Re: Foolproof way to perfect scales! GUARANTEED!!  
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Bernard Offline
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Bernard  Offline
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North Groton, NH
How can you play legato without passing the thumb under?

On the matter of fingering, having practiced each hand separately and well, I do not find any difficulty when putting them together. Perhaps the problem arises when trying to put hands together too soon?


"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown
#464332 - 02/21/02 11:18 PM Re: Foolproof way to perfect scales! GUARANTEED!!  
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Rodion Offline
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sure thing... you don't pass your thumb under, but rather turn your hand outward on the third or fourth finger thereby placing your thumb directly over the key rather than forcing it under the palm. the reason is because when it's under the palm you don't have much control over the muscles that pull the thumb down and you also need to lower your wrist to play the note too. when it's next to the hand and not under it you have the full range of up-down motion for the thumb.

but it's very important to turn your hand by lifting your upper arm outward (and moving your whole forearm) rather than from your wrist, which would put strain on it.

it might seem a bit awkward but after a very small bit of slow practice (hand seperate) i was able to play much smoother after one day of this. the motions you use to turn your hand outward will (naturally) become smaller the quicker you play...and it help to keep your hands turned outward for the whole scale instead of doing it right as the thumb passes.

if that's not a good enough description i can dig out the book...


Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. - Hector Berlioz
#464333 - 02/22/02 12:18 AM Re: Foolproof way to perfect scales! GUARANTEED!!  
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Matt G. Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Rodion:
you don't pass your thumb under, but rather turn your hand outward on the third or fourth finger thereby placing your thumb directly over the key rather than forcing it under the palm


Dang! You mean to tell me I've been doing it right all along? wink I remember getting funny looks from other players when they would see me do that, even though none of my teachers ever mentioned it. Sure there's always a lot to be said for minimal motion, but the technique Rodion describes is, IMHO, much less stressful on the thumb ligaments and promotes much better control of attack on the thumb's note.


Sacred cows make the best hamburger. - Clemens
#464334 - 02/22/02 01:01 AM Re: Foolproof way to perfect scales! GUARANTEED!!  
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Bernard Offline
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Well, I pass my thumb under, not down and under. And in fact there is some slight lifting of the wrist and my thumbtip moves diagonally over somewhat towards the ring finger. I have a hard time envisioning this rotation thing working in fast legato scales. I'll give it a try tomorrow morning.


"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown
#464335 - 02/22/02 12:04 PM Re: Foolproof way to perfect scales! GUARANTEED!!  
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BruceD Offline
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Joe:

Will you forgive my skepticism when I say that I view askance any claim that puts "foolproof", "perfect", and "guaranteed!!" together.

Are you, perchance, in advertising/marketing?

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
#464336 - 02/22/02 02:13 PM Re: Foolproof way to perfect scales! GUARANTEED!!  
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Nina Offline
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Rodion:

I think I understand what you've described. I'll give it a shot. Thanks!
Nina

#464337 - 02/22/02 02:34 PM Re: Foolproof way to perfect scales! GUARANTEED!!  
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JoeTownley Offline
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JoeTownley  Offline
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Actually, no, I'm lousy at sales. So lousy, in fact, that i couldn't sell a snowcone to an Arab on the Sahara in the middle of summer. Just,based on my results, it seems a much more practical way to approach the problem of smooth scales, having both hands pivot at the same time, than disjointed as happens w/ the regular method.

#464338 - 02/23/02 06:24 AM Re: Foolproof way to perfect scales! GUARANTEED!!  
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LudwigVanB Offline
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Rodion:
you don't pass your thumb under, but rather turn your hand outward on the third or fourth finger thereby placing your thumb directly over the key rather than forcing it under the palm

This is essentially, I think, the Taubman method. My teacher is teaching me this. It is awkward to get use to because it doesn't seem natural at first, turning the forearm to strike a key rather than striking it with the finger or thumb. I've been at it several months and I'm just beginning to be able to apply it to scales in music. There is no question it is smoother, less stressful, and my teacher can do it very fast altho she says forget about speed, just learn to do it correctly and speed comes as a byproduct

#464339 - 02/23/02 01:30 PM Re: Foolproof way to perfect scales! GUARANTEED!!  
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Rodion Offline
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from what i've read about the taubman method on the other post it involves rotation, like in trills or tremolos. but the hand doesn't rotate that way in what i'm talking about. this motion pushes the fifth finger toward the piano and thumb actually away from it, so you need to place the third or fourth finger a bit deeper when you play. it naturally rotates a little anyway during scales, but the motion to play the thumb isn't from rotation.


Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. - Hector Berlioz

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